Crane Automation Systems

Discover our overhead crane automation systems designed to improve your safety, uptime and productivity!


Applications - Industries - Solutions - Systems - Meet the Team

Crane Automation Increases Safety, Uptime & Productivity

Our automated crane systems are designed to improve safety, uptime and productivity in your facility. Not only does automation technology allow you to build safety right into equipment with no-fly zones and off-center pick prevention, it also provides you with real-time data and information that enables you to improve operational efficiency and make smarter decisions, faster. Access to real-time data through crane automation systems allows you to better:

  • Plan for maintenance
  • Predict equipment failures
  • Identify needs for operator training
  • View and monitor single or multiple pieces of equipment within a facility 

Browse through our Intelli-Crane™ family of automated crane systems to learn more. With decades of experience in crane automation, we're here to provide you with the expertise to get your system up and running. Reach out to us to learn more about the impact crane automation can have in your facility.

Automated Crane Industries & Applications

We are experienced. For more than 20 years, we have provided customers with technology solutions and components for automated crane systems. Our automation division understands the challenges and benefits of utilizing automation in applications throughout many industries, ranging from automotive and metals production to power generation and construction. Here are a few examples of where our automated crane systems have been used.

  • Crane monitoring and diagnostic reporting
    Our Intelli-Connect™ diagnostics and analytics technology enables quick and easy programming, maintenance, monitoring, and troubleshooting of overhead cranes and hoists right from your smartphone. With diagnostic information available at your fingertips, you can address issues more quickly, plan maintenance, and ultimately reduce downtime.


  • Auto-dispatch
    In the automotive industry, we've assisted in creating an automated electro-static painting system consisting of four identical dipping cranes working congruently over one tank line. We've also assisted in dip tank treatment in the steel industry. Automating dip tank treatment is a great way to increase safety by removing workers from the vicinity of hazardous chemicals or high voltage used in electro-static painting on automotive assembly lines. Intelli-Guide is an excellent option for your next auto-dispatch application.


  • Storage and retrieval
    From steel coils and automotive dies to lumber and boat storage and retrieval systems, we've handled them all. Our automated systems are proven to increase storage space and efficiency in a variety of applications.
  • Line speed matching
    This important feature ensures that multiple hoists lift and traverse one item while moving in tandem with a piece of equipment on the ground (eg. conveyor). This allows a single operator to mate two items on an assembly line safely and more efficiently.
  • Crane-to-crane synchronization
    When two or more cranes are required to move a single load, our technology can synchronize the motions of multiple cranes with the use of a single remote control. Using this technology with drive synchronization software also helps assure safe movement to minimize the risk of damage to crane equipment as well as the product being moved.
  • Monorail positioning
    We designed and installed a customized overhead material delivery system that automated and integrated nine overhead monorail carriers from two separate wheel and strut delivery lines through a single, shared paint line process for the U.S. Air Force. We did this using Magnetek's IMPULSE® drives and conductor bar systems.
  • Multi-level collision avoidance
    In marine applications, like a shipyard, our multi-level collision avoidance systems can help eliminate accidents when several overhead crane systems are running at once.
  • Crane-to-ground based equipment interaction
    When there are machine tools or robotic arms operating on the ground that can interfere with the path of an overhead crane, we can develop a variable no fly zone. This enables the floor device and crane to communicate, eliminating the chance for collision.
  • No-fly zones
    This technology is used to designate areas where a crane should slow down or stop to prevent suspended loads from injuring an operator or colliding with equipment. Be sure to consider Intelli-Protect for your next no-fly zone application.

  • Off-center pick detection
    Swinging loads, whether caused by misalignment or snags, are not only dangerous for your employees but can damage equipment, resulting in costly repairs and downtime. Our off-center pick detection technology detects a load misalignment or snag condition and alerts operators with a visible and audible warning. Intelli-Lift is the perfect match for off-center pick detection.


Aerospace Automotive
Chemical & Food Processing Construction
Entertainment Forestry & Paper
Marine Heavy Moveable Structures
Metals Production Mining
Power Generation Transportation & Rail

Engineered-to-Order Solutions

From power generation and food handling to aerospace and steel making, our automation team is well-versed in building the right automated crane solution to meet your needs. Take the first step to increasing the safety, uptime and productivity in your facility by having a conversation with our experienced automation team members. We'll discuss your goals, timelines, specs and more to help design the right automated system for you.


Featured Crane Automation Systems


Intelli-Connect wirelessly delivers diagnostic and analytic information from Magnetek VFDs to reduce downtime, accelerate commissioning and enable predictive maintenance.

Intelli-Connect enables you to:

  • Access the latest user manuals and troubleshooting guides
  • Adjust parameters and store backup sets to the wireless operator or PED
  • Access technical support


Protect personnel and improve facility throughput with our Intelli-Protect No-Fly Zone Technology.

Intelli-Protect allows you to:

  • Configure to exact requirements
  • Optimize productivity
  • Ensure predictable, repeatable operation
  • Improve facility safety
  • Get flexibility for your application needs


Intelli-Guide Auto-Dispatch Technology can help streamline your operations and improve efficiency as compared to processes that are manually operated.

Intelli-Guide can help you:

  • Maximize productivity and efficiency
  • Increase uptime
  • Improve facility and operator safety
  • Streamline operations and increase material flow


Intelli-Lift Side Pull and Off-Center Pick Technology detects a load misalignment or snag condition and alerts operators with a visible and audible warning before a dangerous situation occurs. 

Intelli-Lift provides:

  • Easy-to-access system data
  • Precision load control
  • Reduced stress on equipment
  • Quick, easy installation

Meet the Team

Test Emmer2

Rick Emmer

Rick Emmer is a Business Development Manager for Columbus McKinnon's Automation Division. Rick has over 25 years of experience and a deep understanding of how to deliver the right automation solution to best meet customers' application needs in the conveyor and palletizing industries. Rick holds a BS Degree in Business with a Major in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

Pat Buehler 4

Pat Buehler

Pat Buehler is a Senior Automation Specialist for Columbus McKinnon's Automation Division. With more than 30 years of direct experience in crane and motor control industries, Pat brings a demonstrated history of working in the electrical and electronic manufacturing industry and is skilled in process control, control system design, SCADA and electrical wiring.

Jean-Luc Kunicki Headshot2

Jean-Luc Kunicki

Jean-Luc is a Systems Applications Sales Engineer in Columbus McKinnon's Automation Division. Jean-Luc graduated from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

Michael Hermans Headshot

Mike Hermans

Mike Hermans is a Sales Engineer for Columbus McKinnon's Automation Division. Mike is a graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Lübeck University of Applied Sciences. He holds two B.S.E.E Degrees.


Lodestar VS with Intelli-Connect

The CM Lodestar VS is now available with Intelli-Connect™ Diagnostics and Analytics technology. Intelli-Connect enables quick and easy programming, maintenance, monitoring, and troubleshooting of the Lodestar – all from a tablet or smartphone.

How does it work? Using the Intelli-Connect Mobile and Mobile+ apps, you can wirelessly access detailed information right from the plant floor, without the need to attach a programming cable. Intelli-Connect is available as an option on all new Lodestar VS units or in a retrofit kit for units already in service.

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Recent Blogs & Case Studies About Crane Automation

16/09/20 • Safety and Training • Power & Motion Technology • Crane Systems

Three Ways Automation Technology Can Improve Your Facility & Operations

Do you have technology in place to help you plan maintenance to prevent costly downtime? Do your processes suffer from complexity that causes variations in product quality? Let's take a closer look at three ways automation can improve your facility and operations.

11/08/20 • Safety and Training • How To's • Crane Systems • Power & Motion Technology

Safety in Automation